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Stories in Space:
Design Strategies for Museum
Interpretive Materials

The Art of Native
American Basketry
The Autry National Center

Ann Marshall
Exhibition Designer
WMA 2013 | Salt Lake City, Utah
The Art of Native American Basketry
The Autry National Center

The Objectives:
1. Show off the Southwest 			
Museum’s large, amazing 		
basket collection
2. Encourage appreciation of 		
the baskets as art objects, 		
and interest in the cultural 		
heritage of their makers
3. Represent the eleven
regions equally

The Existing Gallery Plan
Ann Marshall, Exhibition Designer | WMA 2013 | Salt Lake City, UT
The Art of Native American Basketry
The Autry National Center

The Solution: create two
distinct spaces...
B

A. Open Collections style 	 		
massing, designed to
inspire appreciation of 			
and enchantment with 			
the objects

A

B. Narrative Environment		
	
with stories of the baskets 		
and the people who 				
created them
The Exhibition Concept Plan
Ann Marshall, Exhibition Designer | WMA 2013 | Salt Lake City, UT
The Exhibition Final Plan
Ann Marshall, Exhibition Designer | WMA 2013 | Salt Lake City, UT
... with two different
interpretive strategies

8

A: Digital Kiosks

7

• Concentrated information
separated from the objects
• Searchable
2

B: Environmental Graphics 		
with Radial Hierarchy

6

• Views
• Transparency
• Repetition
• Gradation

5
1

4

The Didactic Strategy

3

Ann Marshall, Exhibition Designer | WMA 2013 | Salt Lake City, UT
The Highlight Tour

The Selective Tour

The In-Depth Tour
Ann Marshall, Exhibition Designer | WMA 2013 | Salt Lake City, UT
Sight lines and sneak peeks

Ann Marshall, Exhibition Designer | WMA 2013 | Salt Lake City, UT
Intentional separation of object and information

1

Ann Marshall, Exhibition Designer | WMA 2013 | Salt Lake City, UT
Focus on the objects

Ann Marshall, Exhibition Designer | WMA 2013 | Salt Lake City, UT
Digital kiosks off to the side

Ann Marshall, Exhibition Designer | WMA 2013 | Salt Lake City, UT
Customized search
• Layered
• Circular

Ann Marshall, Exhibition Designer | WMA 2013 | Salt Lake City, UT
A surprise view from underneath!

Ann Marshall, Exhibition Designer | WMA 2013 | Salt Lake City, UT
Sight lines and transparency of dividers facilitate orientation

Ann Marshall, Exhibition Designer | WMA 2013 | Salt Lake City, UT
Display as orientation device

2

Ann Marshall, Exhibition Designer | WMA 2013 | Salt Lake City, UT
A kit of standard parts
7

7

6

5

4

3

Ann Marshall, Exhibition Designer | WMA 2013 | Salt Lake City, UT
Section marker with region and names of all tribes

3

Ann Marshall, Exhibition Designer | WMA 2013 | Salt Lake City, UT
4

Feature object and interactive station

4

5

5

Ann Marshall, Exhibition Designer | WMA 2013 | Salt Lake City, UT
6

Section Panel
• Region (repeated)
• Locator map
• Section text
• Images and 	
	
captions
Ann Marshall, Exhibition Designer | WMA 2013 | Salt Lake City, UT
Labels arranged to
match object placement

7

Ann Marshall, Exhibition Designer | WMA 2013 | Salt Lake City, UT
Woven panels reference the theme and divide sections

Ann Marshall, Exhibition Designer | WMA 2013 | Salt Lake City, UT
Video wall serves as an anchor and breaks up the monotony

8
Ann Marshall, Exhibition Designer | WMA 2013 | Salt Lake City, UT
A suggestion for testing your exhibition organization:

Diagram it!
What does it look like when translated to key symbols or color coding? If your
diagram is straightforward, the exhibition’s organization strategy will likely be
easily grasped by visitors. This helps them to understand what information is
available, pick an appropriate point of entry, stay oriented, and plan (pace)
their visit.
Make it simple on the concept level. (This will not necessarily be easy.)
Make it easy on the visitor (even if your topic is not simple).

Ann Marshall, Exhibition Designer | WMA 2013 | Salt Lake City, UT

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Stories in Space: 'The Art of Native American Basketry'

  • 1. Stories in Space: Design Strategies for Museum Interpretive Materials The Art of Native American Basketry The Autry National Center Ann Marshall Exhibition Designer WMA 2013 | Salt Lake City, Utah
  • 2. The Art of Native American Basketry The Autry National Center The Objectives: 1. Show off the Southwest Museum’s large, amazing basket collection 2. Encourage appreciation of the baskets as art objects, and interest in the cultural heritage of their makers 3. Represent the eleven regions equally The Existing Gallery Plan Ann Marshall, Exhibition Designer | WMA 2013 | Salt Lake City, UT
  • 3. The Art of Native American Basketry The Autry National Center The Solution: create two distinct spaces... B A. Open Collections style massing, designed to inspire appreciation of and enchantment with the objects A B. Narrative Environment with stories of the baskets and the people who created them The Exhibition Concept Plan Ann Marshall, Exhibition Designer | WMA 2013 | Salt Lake City, UT
  • 4. The Exhibition Final Plan Ann Marshall, Exhibition Designer | WMA 2013 | Salt Lake City, UT
  • 5. ... with two different interpretive strategies 8 A: Digital Kiosks 7 • Concentrated information separated from the objects • Searchable 2 B: Environmental Graphics with Radial Hierarchy 6 • Views • Transparency • Repetition • Gradation 5 1 4 The Didactic Strategy 3 Ann Marshall, Exhibition Designer | WMA 2013 | Salt Lake City, UT
  • 6. The Highlight Tour The Selective Tour The In-Depth Tour Ann Marshall, Exhibition Designer | WMA 2013 | Salt Lake City, UT
  • 7. Sight lines and sneak peeks Ann Marshall, Exhibition Designer | WMA 2013 | Salt Lake City, UT
  • 8. Intentional separation of object and information 1 Ann Marshall, Exhibition Designer | WMA 2013 | Salt Lake City, UT
  • 9. Focus on the objects Ann Marshall, Exhibition Designer | WMA 2013 | Salt Lake City, UT
  • 10. Digital kiosks off to the side Ann Marshall, Exhibition Designer | WMA 2013 | Salt Lake City, UT
  • 11. Customized search • Layered • Circular Ann Marshall, Exhibition Designer | WMA 2013 | Salt Lake City, UT
  • 12. A surprise view from underneath! Ann Marshall, Exhibition Designer | WMA 2013 | Salt Lake City, UT
  • 13. Sight lines and transparency of dividers facilitate orientation Ann Marshall, Exhibition Designer | WMA 2013 | Salt Lake City, UT
  • 14. Display as orientation device 2 Ann Marshall, Exhibition Designer | WMA 2013 | Salt Lake City, UT
  • 15. A kit of standard parts 7 7 6 5 4 3 Ann Marshall, Exhibition Designer | WMA 2013 | Salt Lake City, UT
  • 16. Section marker with region and names of all tribes 3 Ann Marshall, Exhibition Designer | WMA 2013 | Salt Lake City, UT
  • 17. 4 Feature object and interactive station 4 5 5 Ann Marshall, Exhibition Designer | WMA 2013 | Salt Lake City, UT
  • 18. 6 Section Panel • Region (repeated) • Locator map • Section text • Images and captions Ann Marshall, Exhibition Designer | WMA 2013 | Salt Lake City, UT
  • 19. Labels arranged to match object placement 7 Ann Marshall, Exhibition Designer | WMA 2013 | Salt Lake City, UT
  • 20. Woven panels reference the theme and divide sections Ann Marshall, Exhibition Designer | WMA 2013 | Salt Lake City, UT
  • 21. Video wall serves as an anchor and breaks up the monotony 8 Ann Marshall, Exhibition Designer | WMA 2013 | Salt Lake City, UT
  • 22. A suggestion for testing your exhibition organization: Diagram it! What does it look like when translated to key symbols or color coding? If your diagram is straightforward, the exhibition’s organization strategy will likely be easily grasped by visitors. This helps them to understand what information is available, pick an appropriate point of entry, stay oriented, and plan (pace) their visit. Make it simple on the concept level. (This will not necessarily be easy.) Make it easy on the visitor (even if your topic is not simple). Ann Marshall, Exhibition Designer | WMA 2013 | Salt Lake City, UT